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Indiana Protection & Advocacy Services

IPAS > Equal Access > ADA Transportation ADA Transportation

The transportation rules of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protect people with disabilities from discrimination in public transportation by organizations covered under ADA's Titles II and III. This includes both publicly and privately owned transportation operations of organizations whose primary function is providing transportation services, as well as those that provide transportation services as an incidental part of their other business functions.

The Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board (or U.S. Access Board) developed the guidelines for accessible vehicles that are incorporated in the Department of Transportation (DOT) ADA regulations, 49 CFR Part 38. The board provides technical assistance on the design features that must be incorporated in vehicles required to be accessible by the DOT regulation, which covers policy and operational issues for paratransit.

ADA Accessibility Guidelines for Transportation Vehicles
ADA and Passenger Vessels

ADA and Transportation Vehicles Overview

The Department of Transportation, through the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), enforces the provisions of ADA Titles II and III for all programs, services and regulatory activities relating to transportation, including highways; public transportation; traffic management (non-law enforcement); automobile licensing and inspection; and driver licensing. The board issued minimum guidelines for accessibility of new or remodeled transportation facilities, and new vehicles.

For more information or to file a complaint with the Federal Transit Administration, visit the File a Complaint section of the FTA Web site.

Helpful Resources

A Guide to Disability Rights Laws
Transportation Publications
Transportation Resources
National Organization on Disability – Transportation Access – Transportation

Source:; © 2006, UCP of South Puget Sound

New ADA Standards Issued for Transportation Facilities

On Oct. 30, 2006, the U.S Department of Transportation (DOT) adopted new standards for transportation facilities covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Based on updated guidelines issued by the board in 2004, the standards will apply to bus stops and stations, rail stations and airports built or altered after Nov. 29, 2006, as indicated in a notice published by DOT in the Federal Register. The standards may also apply to certain key rail stations and intercity rail stations, but otherwise do not apply to existing facilities except in the case of alterations. These standards are effective as of Nov. 29, 2006.

The new standards contain updated provisions that improve accessibility while facilitating compliance. For example, the standards clarify and enhance access to fare vending machines and bus stops, and include revised specifications for tactile warnings along boarding platform drop-offs that will accommodate a wider range of available products. These and other changes, including a revised format and numbering system, derive from the board's overhaul of its ADA Accessibility Guidelines. Other facilities covered by the ADA, including places of public accommodation, commercial facilities, and state and local government facilities, are subject to standards maintained by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), which intends to adopt similar standards for these facilities but has not released a timetable.

The board's guidelines are also being used to update standards under the Architectural Barriers Act (ABA) which applies to federally funded facilities. Several agencies are responsible for the ABA standards, including the General Services Administration and the U.S. Postal Service, which previously adopted new standards that apply to most types of federal facilities and to postal facilities. ABA standards covering housing and military facilities will be updated by the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Defense. Once all agencies have issued new standards under the ABA or ADA, a consistent level of accessibility will be specified for the full range of facilities covered under both laws. Further information on the status of these efforts is posted on the board's Web site at


The Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) prohibits discrimination in air transportation by domestic and foreign air carriers against qualified individuals with physical or mental impairments. It applies only to air carriers that provide regularly scheduled services for hire to the public. Requirements address a wide range of issues including boarding assistance and certain accessibility features in newly built aircraft and new or altered airport facilities.

14 CFR Part 382 – Department of Transportation Regulations implementing the disability non-discrimination provisions of the ACAA.

People may enforce rights under the ACAA by filing a complaint with the U.S. Department of Transportation, or by bringing a lawsuit in federal court.

To file a complaint, click here for a form (PDF format) and send it to:

Aviation Consumer Protection Division
U.S. Department of Transportation
400 Seventh St., S.W. Room 4107, C-75
Washington, D.C. 20590

The toll-free numbers for the aviation consumer disability hotline are 800-778-4838 (voice) or 800-455-9880 (TTY).